Clean Energy Jobs Grew 3.6% In 2018, With Wind Employment Thriving

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A total of 3.26 million Americans now work in clean energy in every state of the country, according to a new analysis of energy jobs data by national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). Across the U.S., nearly every state saw an increase in clean energy jobs in 2018, combining to add about 110,000 net new jobs for a growth rate of 3.6%.

The analysis expands on data from the 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report, produced by the Energy Futures Initiative in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials, using data collected and analyzed by the BW Research Partnership.

E2’s 2019 Clean Jobs America analysis breaks down the data by total clean energy jobs in each industry: energy efficiency (2,324,865), renewable energy (508,484), grid and storage (138,946), clean vehicles (253,599), and fuels (38,488).

At the end of 2018, clean energy jobs outnumbered fossil fuel jobs nearly three to one (3.26 million to 1.17 million), according to the report.

Two sectors in particular – energy storage and clean vehicles – saw job totals increase sharply from last year (14% and 15%, respectively), driven by growing consumer electric vehicle adoption, state expansions of charging infrastructure, falling battery prices and increased solar-storage installations.

Of the renewable energy jobs, there are 334,992 in solar and 111,166 in wind. E2 says solar jobs fell 4.2% in 2018, losing 8,000, but employers are projecting job growth of over 8% in 2019. About 90% of the solar job losses occurred in California and Massachusetts, while 18 other states saw growth. However, solar remains the top U.S. job provider in electric power generation – leading natural gas by more than 200,000 jobs – while wind is third, trailing natural gas by fewer than 1,500 jobs. Wind jobs grew 3.5% last year, adding 3,700 employees.

The 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report also provides the following statistics on wind employment by sector, as well as demographics:

Clean Energy Jobs Grew 3.6% In 2018, With Wind Employment Thriving
Source: 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report
Clean Energy Jobs Grew 3.6% In 2018, With Wind Employment Thriving
Source: 2019 U.S. Energy and Employment Report

E2 adds that traditionally strong clean energy states dominated the job rankings again in 2018, with nine states now topping the 110,000-job mark for clean energy employment. States outside the top 10, including Kansas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Kentucky, saw growth rates above 5%, while Nevada experienced a meteoric 32.43% growth in jobs – in large part because of growth in battery storage jobs related to Tesla’s Gigafactory, says E2.

Clean Energy Jobs Grew 3.6% In 2018, With Wind Employment Thriving
Source: E2

E2 also lays out the following key findings:

  • Solar alone employs more than twice the number of coal workers.
  • Wind and solar account for nearly two out of every five construction jobs in the electric generation sector.
  • Not included in the clean vehicles sector are 486,000 employees in the motor vehicle industry who work with parts making vehicles more fuel-efficient.
  • Jobs in grid modernization grew 3.3% in 2018, adding more than 2,000 jobs.
  • More Americans work in energy efficiency (2.3 million) than there are waiters and waitresses in America’s bars and restaurants (2.25 million).
  • All but two of America’s 3,007 counties are home to jobs in clean energy.
  • More than one out of every three employees working in the energy sector (from traditional energy to motor vehicles) is involved in energy efficiency.
  • Two-thirds of U.S. clean energy jobs (67%) are involved in construction and manufacturing.
  • There are now more Americans working in clean energy than there are school teachers.

“Clean energy jobs continued to grow across the country in 2018. But this growth is in jeopardy because of misguided Trump policies such as tariffs on solar panels and rollbacks of popular fuel economy and energy efficiency standards,” says Bob Keefe, E2’s executive director. “The 3.3 million Americans who now work in clean energy industries – and all of us – are counting on Congress to take action that helps this giant sector continue to expand our economy. America’s ability to lead the world in innovation and compete globally in this booming market depends on it.”

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